Families of kids with cancer struggle to create memories due to hospital travel costs.

Problems go beyond money - they can be emotional as well.

September 3rd 2023.

Families of kids with cancer struggle to create memories due to hospital travel costs.
Kayla Buttle, aged 6, is currently undergoing treatment for leukaemia. Unfortunately, the cost of taking their children to hospital has meant that families of children with cancer are unable to make the memories they deserve.

Research conducted by Young Lives vs Cancer has revealed that 82% of families have had to reduce their leisure and entertainment activities in order to pay for all the trips to hospital. Furthermore, more than 70% of families are struggling to meet the cost of fuel, with petrol prices at their highest this year.

Many families have to travel up to 350 miles a month, and some are making 100-mile round trips up to five times a week to get to hospital. Young Lives vs Cancer and the families affected are now asking the government for financial support for transport so they can make the most of the time they have left with their children.

Stacey Buttle, mother of Kayla, is one of those families. When Kayla was first diagnosed, the family would have to travel 60 miles from their home in Norwich to Addenbrooke’s hospital. Stacey told The Agency that the cost of driving to hospital is so high that they are “missing out on memories”.

She said: “We are missing out on milestones, and all we want to do is make enough special moments with our kids without making sure there is enough fuel in our car. We don’t get to do things families take for granted, like the last day of school or Christmases. Even going to the beach, that can be a cheap day out if you take a picnic but you’ve got to think ‘do I have enough money to put extra fuel in or do I have enough in there if something went wrong?’ It’s not a pleasant feeling, it’s awful.”

Stacey’s two sons, Kory and Riley, are also missing out on things because she has to be available to take Kayla to hospital. She said: “I want to make sure the boys have fun, but they have missed out on loads because I need to be there for Kayla in case I need to take her to hospital.”

The creation of a fuel fund would mean that Stacey would no longer have to worry about whether there is enough petrol in the tank. However, the problem is not just financial, but emotional too. Stacey added: “You’re sitting there thinking ‘how am I going to afford this?’ You’re running a home with your family in it, your gas, electric, heating, food and everything and then you’re thrown into this world.”

Young Lives vs Cancer and the families affected are now petitioning the government to provide financial support for transport. This would mean that families can make memories and enjoy the time they have with their children. If you would like to support the cause, please sign the petition here.

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